Education through an Ability Studies Lens


  • Gregor Wolbring
  • Sophya Yumakulov


learning disability, ableism, ability studies, education, ability privilege, ability power, ability expectation oppression, enhancement


The purpose of this article is to engage with ability expectations evident in the education setting. The article exposes the reader to the academic field of ability studies which investigates how all kind of ability expectation (want stage) and ableism (need stage) hierarchies and preferences come to pass and the impact of such hierarchies and preferences on human-human, human-animal and human-nature relationships. We provide quantitative data on the ability expectation sentiment of children in the education setting from 1851-2014, using the NYT as a source and discuss the future impact of changing ability expectations including the ability expectation that humans enhance themselves beyond the species-typical for the education system (section 3). We furthermore engage with the meaning of the term learning disability (LD) conceptually providing some history of the meaning and appearance of the term LD within North America and we discuss the future of the term LD through the lens of changing ability expectations (section 4). We posit that the ability studies framework allows for a new community of practice bringing together people and ideas from disability studies and other fields in an innovative way, generating knowledge that will permit to deal with the ever changing societal challenges of ability expectation oppressions experienced by various social groups and to tackle the issue of ability expectation governance, ability privilege and ability power within and outside of the education setting.


  • Gregor Wolbring
    Dr. Gregor Wolbring is Associate Professor at the Department of Community Health Sciences, Program in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, Faculty of Medicine University of Calgary
  • Sophya Yumakulov
    Sophya Yumakulov is a PhD student at the University of Toronto.








Education through an Ability Studies Lens. (2015). Zeitschrift für Inklusion, 2.